Saturday I brewed what I affectionately called “The $10 beer.” Papazian has a recipe called “Humpty Dumpty’s Original Bitter” which I was able to buy ingredients for for around $10. To help me out, my brother in law Jeremy met me at my in-laws house where we did our brewing.
The recipe calls for 6lbs of two row, 1/3 lb of crystal malt, and 1/4 lb of aromatic malt. Now, this is less than 7lbs of grain, for a 5 gallon batch. I was extremely generous with my measurements when I bought the grains, giving me a bit more than what was called for. Now, the recipe also describes this as a very light beer with a good malty body, but very light in alcohol content. Ok, going with less than 2 lbs of grains per gallon is definitely going to give you a light alcohol content. I did replace the hops it called for, as I wasn’t about to buy some hops when I have 4lbs of hop pellets at home, as well as leftovers from my oatmeal stout. I believe the recipe called for Northdown or Fuggles for bittering hops along with Kent Goldings for aroma. I used Cascades for bittering and Chinook for aroma. I also got to use my new lauder tun.
Now, I was debating about using a brew pot to make my wort or just mash it all in my new lauder tun. I decided on the brew pot, as I don’t want to introduce too many variables into a new brew at once. I did the three stage extraction, as per Papazian’s directions, but for the second stage I kept the temp a little lower than normal (145-150) at the suggestion of the guys at the beer store. When this was done I dumped the whole thing into my new lauder tun and sparged it with 3 gallons of 170 degree water. My 5 gallon brew pot was up to the rim with sweet wort. Then it was time to boil the wort and add the hops.
My cascade hops were leftovers from my oatmeal stout, and I thought I had stored them properly, but when my brother in law dumped them in the brew pot I noticed that many of the hop flowers were brown. Grr…. So to compensate for the crappy hops I added a touch of Chinook’s to the batch for bittering. Once the wort got going everyone left the house. They didn’t care too much for the hop aroma. Strangely, I love it. It smells like good memories.
We decided to use a colander with cheese cloth in it to filter the hops out at the end of the brew. This worked out fine as the colander fit nicely into the top of my lauder tun. So, we poured the beer into our poor boy filtration system, not thinking to remove the larger hop flowers out before doing this. It filtered it all right, just went slow as the hop flowers and the what not’s clogged up the colander. I then took some beer out to test in my hydrometer and sealed up the fermentation vessel.
Ok, this is supposed to be a light beer with good malty tones. So, I took the initial gravity reading: 1.012, potential alcohol rating of 2.2 percent. What? Holy crap! Either I didn’t get all the sugars extracted from the grains or this thing is meant to be this weak.
Fermentation lasted exactly 2 days. Now, I get to bottle it. I’m hoping to do it tonight. I’ll post what the final gravity is and the final alcohol content. Hopefully, it will turn out tasting good, as I will be disappointed if it doesn’t. But, it should. This is a Papazian recipe after all.